While Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) is racing to bring its coronavirus vaccine candidate to market as fast as possible, the company is also planning for a post-pandemic future. "I am excited about the potential to develop a combined influenza/COVID-19 vaccine for use after the pandemic," said Chief Executive Officer Stanley Erck in a news release Tuesday to announce the formation of a leadership team to move its flu vaccine candidate, Nanoflu, through the regulatory approval process.
Back in March, the vaccine specialist found success with its phase 3 trial for Nanoflu, but that good news was somewhat swamped by the urgency of finding a vaccine for COVID-19. Novavax's candidate in that effort, NVX-CoV2373, has been zooming through the development process at a rapid pace, and is being tested in multiple trials, including a phase 2 trial in Australia and the U.S., a phase 2 trial in South Africa, and a 10,000 person phase 3 trial in the U.K. Another phase 3 trial involving 30,000 volunteers is planned for the U.S.
But because of the world's dire need for an effective COVID-19 vaccine, the company's flu vaccine program has made little progress since its phase 3 trial. CFO John Trizzino recently suggested that the company would not file its biologics license application for NanoFlu until the end of 2021.
Tuesday's announcement reflects Novavax's desire to accelerate the NanoFlu program and get its vaccine to market faster. Executive Vice President Rip Wilson was put in charge of the program. He is joined by Dr. Vivek Shinde and Dr. Tim Hahn, veterans of NanoFlu's development. The team will also oversee the development of the combination vaccine for both flu and COVID-19.
As of 2:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Novavax stock was trading 7.6% higher, while the broader market indexes were down fractionally.